Are the Australian media incompetent or corrupt ?
Why won't they report that Save the Children have called for an to end mandatory detention?
Save the Children Australia [20/3/15]:
Save the Children welcomes the release of the Moss Inquiry which found no evidence that our staff on Nauru encouraged self-harm, fabricated abuse allegations or orchestrated protests.
However we are deeply troubled by evidence provided in the report supporting claims of sexual and physical assaults against children and adults at the immigration detention facility on Nauru.
The only way to guarantee the rights and wellbeing of asylum seekers on Nauru is for the Australian government to immediately end the practice of mandatory and prolonged detention.
Why are they ignoring this story?
PNG allows lawyers into Manus camp [RNZI – 21/3/15]:
The Papua New Guinea government has agreed to provide access to lawyers to obtain statements from asylum seekers held by Australia on Manus Island.
The Australian-based Refugee Action Coalition says the move is a major breakthrough in the legal challenge to the Manus detention centre.
The Coalition's spokesperson, Ian Rintoul, says final orders by the Supreme Court will be made next Tuesday, but initial access will be for a period of two months with provision to apply to extend the time period, if necessary.
Mr Rintoul says they are extremely happy to finally have legal access to the detention centre.
He says ever since the detention centre was opened, asylum seekers have been denied access to lawyers and legal advice.
He says the centre has operated under a complete cloak of secrecy under which the Australian Immigration Department, the PNG government, G4S, Transfield and Wilson's Security violated the human rights of asylum seekers with impunity.
Refugee Rights Action Network WA [21/3/15]:
YONGAH HILL LAST NIGHT: The asylum seekers fashioned a banner. It is a simple but a powerful message.
WE WANT FREEDOM
For that they were attacked by the AFP and the dog squad. The sound of flash bangs and dogs barking could clearly be heard.
One of the asylum seekers sent us this message "thanks for your supports. Surely it is not right to treat human like pets inside a cage Thank you so much Love you all. FREEDOM.
We received multiple messages. Most expressing concern about us..how will you eat dinner? "it night so you drive careful" "gates finally open and we ate (8 pm) How you have your dinner? I hope you are all well"
They worried we missed our dinner..that we were safe to drive in the dark and that the police did not harass us. They spoke of their excitement when they saw out car headlights and candles up on the hill..and could hear us chanting FREEDOM.
How appalling that we are in a time where it is a radical act to stand on a hill and chant FREEDOM to people who have committed NO crime but are locked up without charge or trial.
Sri Lankan girl refused visa because she has Down syndrome, says family [ABC – 21/3/15]
Workers in visa row forced to sleep in office, union claims [Sydney Morning Herald – 20/3/15]
Deadly attacks in Syria kill more than 100
Al Arabiya [21/3/15]:
More than 100 people were killed in Syria in 24 hours of violence after fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) attacked regime troops and a suicide bomber caused carnage at Kurdish New Year celebrations, a monitor said Friday.
More than 70 members of government forces were killed when ISIS attacked checkpoints and other positions in the central Homs and Hama provinces, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP “most of the dead, around 50, fell in the Hama countryside.”
Several militants were also killed when clashes broke out, he added without giving a toll.
The regime controls most of Homs and Hama.
“ISIS has faced setbacks recently in the provinces of Aleppo and Raqa and in Hasakeh in confrontations with Kurds on the one hand and regime forces on the other, and are now trying to score military points, even limited ones, to offset their losses,” said Abdel Rahman.
Activists also reported shelling from forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo's Al-Mashad neighborhood on Friday, according to Reuters news agency. The causalities from this attack were yet to be reported.
Separately, a suicide bomber struck at Syria’s Kurdish minority on Friday, killing more than 33 people as they celebrated Kurdish New Year in Hasakeh, northeast Syria.
Five children and many women were among the dead, the Observatory said.
“33 people were killed in the suicide attack in Hasakeh today, including five children. Many women were among the dead,” Abdel Rahman said.
The victims had gathered for a celebration on the eve of Nowruz, Kurdish New Year.
Dozens more were injured in the blast and the death toll may rise, the monitor added.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but Abdel Rahman said the suicide bomber could have been a member of ISIS.
He said a second bomb exploded at another Nowruz celebration, wounding dozens of people.
U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon condemned the “heinous” attacks.
“Initial reports suggest that two separate bombings killed and injured up to 100 persons, including women and children,” the U.N. secretary general said in a statement following the attacks.
“These heinous attacks took place during a holiday that is customarily a time for Kurdish communities to come together to share their hopes for the new year.”
Ban said he “takes note” of the allegations that IS jihadists were behind the attack, and condemned the militant group.
“The terrorist organization's despicable agenda includes efforts to incite sectarian and ethnic division among Syria's diverse communities. It must not be allowed to succeed,” he said.
Also on Friday, Syrian state news agency SANA reported a “terrorist” attack in the center of Hasakeh that killed and wounded “many civilians” and damaged homes, shops and cars.
Hasakeh is a strategic province near Syria’s borders with Iraq and Turkey.
ISIS controls several parts of the province while fighters from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) hold the provincial capital, which is also called Hasakeh.
The YPG are sworn enemies of ISIS, which they expelled from the border town of Kobane in January after four months of fierce fighting with help from allied air strikes.
The overall commander of the Asayish, or Kurdish security forces, Joan Ibrahim, said “the crime that occurred today in Hasakeh will not pass without retribution”, YPG said on one of its Facebook pages.
100 bodies in Nigeria ‘mass grave’ in town taken from Boko Haram
Gulf News [21/3/15]:
Around 100 bodies were found on Friday in a mass grave on the edge of a town in northeast Nigeria after it was freed from Boko Haram, a Chadian army spokesman said.
Soldiers discovered the bodies — some decapitated — under a bridge just outside Damasak, which was retaken from Boko Haram on March 9 by troops from Chad and Niger.
“There are about 100 bodies spread around under the bridge just outside the town,” said Colonel Azem Bermandoa Agouna, adding that he had visited the scene himself close to the border with Niger.
He claimed the massacre probably occurred about two months ago and said: “This is the work of Boko Haram.”
It was, however, impossible to verify the claim independently.
Colonel Bermandoa Agouna said several of the victims had been decapitated while others had been shot. “There are heads here and bodies there, the mass grave has become like a termite mound,” he added.
Chad and Niger launched a vast air and ground offensive against Boko Haram in the area on March 8, quickly taking Damasak from the Nigerian militants.
According to a Chadian army source, the militants suffered heavy losses in the push, with some 200 killed in fighting on Sunday for the loss of 10 Chadian soldiers with 20 wounded.
“Operation Mai Dounama”, named after a 13th-century emperor of Borno province in northern Nigeria, aims to destroy Boko Haram bases close to Niger, a Nigerian army spokesman said Thursday.
Boko Haram took Damasak on November 24, killing around 50 people and forcing another 3,000 to flee, according to the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees.
The uprising, which initially began as a campaign against Western education, has claimed more than 13,000 lives since 2009.
Deadly Clashes in Sudan's North Darfur
Clashes between two ethnic groups in Sudan's Darfur have left several people dead, their leaders told AFP on Friday, with both sides giving conflicting accounts of the clashes.
The Arab Zayadiya tribe and the Berti, a non-Arab group, have been battling with heavy weapons around the Mallit area north of El Fasher, the state capital of North Darfur.
The Zayadiya said six of their men were killed and the Berti said they suffered 13 dead, with both sides claiming the other attacked first.
"The Berti attacked Zayadiya areas" mounted on Land cruisers, leaving six members of the Arab tribe dead, their chief Abdallah Jezu told AFP by phone.
"This was yesterday, Thursday, and today they renewed the attack again," he said.
Berti leader Al-Mak Ahmedaye said his people's area had come under attack first on Tuesday.
"They burned several villages and killed 13 of our men," he told AFP by phone.
Neither said why the fighting had taken place but Darfur's tribes and ethnic groups regularly clash over land disputes and resources.
An eyewitness in the Mallit area told AFP they had seen at least 20 bodies after the clashes, although they were unsure which side they belonged to.
Both sides used heavy weapons, the witness said by telephone.
"I did not see any security forces present in the area," the witness said.
The western region has been mired in violence since 2003 when ethnic insurgents rebelled against Khartoum's Arab-dominated government, complaining of their marginalization.
At least 300,000 people have been killed in the conflict and more than two million displaced, according to the U.N., although Khartoum puts the death toll at 10,000.
President Omar al-Bashir, who is seeking reelection in presidential and legislative polls next month, is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Darfur.
Man with machete shot when he rushed New Orleans airport security checkpoint, sheriff says
The Times-Picayune [21/3/15]:
A man wielding a machete was shot and seriously injured after he stormed a security checkpoint at Louis Armstrong International Airport Friday evening (March 20), Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said.
A TSA officer and a traveler sustained non-life threatening injuries -- apparently from bullets fired at the man by a sheriff's deputy.
The attacker was identified as Richard White, 63, of Kenner, Normand said. His last known address was the 1600 block of Taylor Street, about two miles away from the airport. Normand said White had only a few minor arrests on his record.
"I know there have been a lot of questions as to whether or not we believe there's any national security threat or anything along those lines," Normand said. "At this point in time, we don't have any information that leads us to believe that's the case as it relates to this situation."
White walked down a TSA Pre-Check security line into Concourse B shortly before 8 p.m. and was challenged by an officer who was checking for his boarding pass, Normand said. He then pulled out a can of wasp spray and sprayed the officer, he said.
White ran past two other officers and then pulled a large machete from his waistband, Normand said. A TSA agent blocked the weapon using a piece of luggage as White ran through the magnetometer, he said.
The sheriff said White approached JPSO Lt. Heather Slyve, a deputy stationed at the checkpoint, swinging the machete. Slyve fired three rounds, striking White in the left chest area, the left facial area and the left thigh, Normand said.
White was taken to the hospital, where he was described by Normand as "unresponsive." He was in surgery late Friday.
Normand said White was a taxi driver and recently received a chauffer's license. He has a minimal criminal history -- "some disturbing the peace charges and a couple of traffic attachments."
Around 10:30 p.m., Normand said authorities located White's car at the upper end of the terminal. Deputies were processing it "as an abundance of caution."
A TSA officer who was fleeing from White was shot in her upper arm, Normand said. A traveler sustained a graze wound to his arm, also believed to have been from a bullet fired by the deputy, he said.
Some other travelers caught in the scramble for safety had cuts to their hands, feet and legs, Normand said.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu issued this statement late Friday:
"The situation at Louis Armstrong International Airport is under control and the airport is secure. There is no threat to the public at this time, and the airport is returning to normal operations. We expect Concourse B -- where the incident occurred -- to fully reopen tomorrow."
Concourse B serves Southwest Airlines.
Iran Leader Says All Nuclear Issues Can Be Resolved in Talks
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said Saturday differences remain but that all issues can be resolved in talks with the West to secure a long-sought deal on his country's disputed nuclear program.
"I believe an agreement is possible. There is nothing that cannot be resolved and the other party must make its final decision for this," the official IRNA news agency quoted the Iranian leader as saying.
Rouhani's comments came a day after the latest round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany -- ended without a breakthrough.
The marathon talks are aimed at putting an Iranian nuclear bomb out of reach in exchange for easing sanctions on its economy.
"In this round of negotiations (in Lausanne, Switzerland) there were differences on some issues," Rouhani said, noting that "common views emerged that can be the basis of a final agreement."
However he added: "Some points of disagreement persist."
The negotiations are to resume on Wednesday, leaving the two sides with just one week to meet a March 31 deadline for agreeing the outlines of a nuclear deal they hope will end a 12-year deadlock.
US Secretary of State John Kerry was to leave Switzerland on Saturday for talks in London with his British, French and German counterparts, the State Department said.
On Friday Kerry spoke by telephone with the foreign ministers of Russia and China, the other two powers involved in talks that officially resumed after the 2013 election of Rouhani.
A day earlier U.S. President Barack Obama appealed in a Nowruz (Persian New Year) address to the Iranian people and leaders to seize a "historic" opportunity to begin a "brighter future".
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who had been locked in talks with Kerry in Lausanne, responded by saying it was the other side that had to budge.
"Iranians have already made their choice: engage with dignity. It's high time for the U.S. and its allies to choose: pressure or agreement," Zarif posted in English on his official Twitter account.
The highly complex mooted agreement, due to be finalized by July, is aimed at convincing the world that Iran will not build nuclear weapons under the guise of its civilian program.
It would likely involve Iran reducing in scope its nuclear activities, allowing ultra-tight inspections, exporting nuclear material and limiting development of new nuclear machinery.
In exchange, Iran -- which denies wanting nuclear weapons -- would get staggered relief from the mountain of painful sanctions that have strangled its oil exports and hammered its economy.
Half of Vanuatu's population affected by Cyclone Pam: UN
Channel News Asia [21/3/15]:
More than half of the South Pacific island nation Vanuatu's population has been affected by Cyclone Pam, the UN said Saturday (Mar 21) as the death toll rose to 16.
Severe Tropical Cyclone Pam barrelled into the archipelago a week ago, bringing sustained winds of around 250km/h which devastated entire communities.
"Around 166,000 people, more than half of Vanuatu's population, have been affected by Tropical Cyclone Pam on 22 islands," the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a situation report.
"Food stocks and water reserves are being exhausted and will not last more than a couple of weeks across the affected islands."
The agency said the confirmed death toll had risen to 16, as aid workers were able to reach new areas, with completed assessments covering 15 islands.
Aid agencies have stressed that potable water, food, shelter and health were a priority in the aftermath of the storm which hit late on Mar 13. The latest assessment found damage to food crops was extensive.
"Coconut and banana plantations have been particularly devastated, which will have significant longer-term impact," OCHA said, noting that most people living on the outer islands grow their own food.
In some areas local residents would not only lose their main source of income due to damage to crops such as copra, but their food security would be threatened by the loss of livestock, such as pigs and poultry, it said.
In its situation report, OCHA said that access to some communities was still hindered across the sprawling nation which is made up of more than 80 islands. But it said between 50 and 90 per cent of local dwellings were estimated to have been damaged by the fierce winds which pounded Vanuatu as the eye of the storm hovered over the nation for hours.
"Around 65,000 people are in need of temporary emergency shelter," it added. Aid agencies have mobilised to help the country, and are on the ground distributing food, water and health services but access to drinkable water is a concern after ground water sources were contaminated by the storm.
Schools have been postponed for two weeks, and are due to restart on Mar 30, with OCHA estimating that 500 schools were damaged, something which will affect up to 70,000 children.
The agency said fuel stocks were running low across the affected islands while electricity was mostly unavailable and generators are essential.
Vanuatu's Prime Minister, Joe Natuman, says the government will struggle to feed its people over the coming months as the recovery operation after Cyclone Pam gets underway.
At a news conference on Friday evening, Mr Natuman made a direct appeal for food aid to be given to the cyclone-ravaged country. ... [RNZI - 20/3/15]
SES AND Digicel donate emergency satellite services to Vanuatu [PNG Loop - 21/3/15]
Nathan to hit NT as a category two cyclone [Yahoo - 21/3/15]
Mount Archer is no longer the natural beauty it was before TC Marcia tore through the region a month ago.
With an extensive amount of debris, fallen tries and unsteady boulders, Chair of Local Disaster Management Group and Infrastructure Committee councillor Tony Williams said the clean-up would be a multi-million dollar effort. … [Morning Bulletin – 20/3/15]
Kiev forces claim responsibility for blowing up bridge on disengagement line with LPR
Kiev government forces have claimed responsibility for intentionally exploding a river bridge on the disengagement line with the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) near the town of Stanitsa Luhanskaya on March 19, Ukraine’s interior ministry official said on Thursday.
The Kiev forces destroyed an automobile bridge across the Seversky Donets River on Thursday evening, the LPR authorities reported on March 19.
The bridge was one of the two remaining corridors that used to connect the LPR to Ukraine.
Ilya Kiva, the deputy head of Ukraine’s Interior Ministry department for the Donetsk region, said in an interview aired by Ukraine’s 5 Channel TV on Friday that the bridge had been blown up to prevent an allegedly possible offensive by the LPR militias.
"The anti-terror operation’s headquarters decided to explode the bridge to prevent terrorist forces from breaking through to our positions," Kiva stressed.
LPR’s head Igor Plotnitsky said earlier on Friday that the self-proclaimed republic would not give in to Kiev’s provocations in connection with the bridge explosion near Stanitsa Luhanskaya.
Myanmar convicts five over fake rape claim that sparked riots
A Myanmar court convicted five people for spreading fabricated allegations that a Muslim man raped a Buddhist woman, which led to deadly riots last July, a court official said on Friday.
One Buddhist and one Muslim man were killed during two days of rioting in the central city of Mandalay, which began when a mob of about 300 Buddhists swarmed a tea shop owned by a Muslim man accused of raping a female Buddhist employee.
Among those sentenced to 21 years in prison was Phyu Phyu Min, who filed a case with police in Pyinmana, a town near Mandalay, claiming she had been raped. She later confessed that she was paid to file the false complaint.
"Their false charge of offence sparked a riot in our peaceful society, leading to the death of two, causing distrust and conflicts between two communities," said a Mandalay Region court official who asked not to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the media.
President Thein Sein's government launched sweeping political and economic reforms after he took office in 2011 following 49 years of military rule. However, it has struggled to contain outbreaks of anti-Muslim violence in which at least 240 people have been killed since June 2012.
Most of the victims have been Muslims and riots are often preceded by claims that a Muslim man raped a Buddhist woman, as was the case in Mandalay.
Of Greeks and Germans: Re-imagining our shared future
Yanis Varoufakis [20/3/15]:
Any sensible person can see how a certain video has become part of something beyond a gesture. It has sparked off a kerfuffle reflecting the manner in which the 2008 banking crisis began to undermine Europe’s badly designed monetary union, turning proud nations against each other.
When, in early 2010, the Greek state lost its capacity to service its debts to French, German and Greek banks, I campaigned against the Greek government’s quest for an enormous new loan from Europe’s taxpayers. Why?
I opposed the 2010 and 2012 ‘bailout’ loans from German and other European taxpayers because:
◾ the new loans represented not a bailout for Greece but a cynical transfer of losses from the books of the private banks to the weak shoulders of the weakest of Greek citizens. (How many of Europe’s taxpayers, who footed these loans, know that more than 90% of the €240 billion borrowed by Greece went to financial institutions, not to the Greek state or its citizens?)
◾ it was obvious that, at a time Greece could not repay its existing loans, the austerity conditions for giving Greece the new loans would crush Greek nominal incomes, making our debt even less sustainable
◾ the ‘bailout’ burden would, sooner or later, weigh down German and other European taxpayers once the weaker Greeks buckled under their mountainous debts (as moneyed Greeks had already shifted their deposits to Frankfurt, London etc.)
◾ misleading peoples and Parliaments by presenting a bank bailout as an act of ‘solidarity to Greece’ would turn Germans against Greeks, Greeks against Germans and, eventually, Europe against itself.
In 2010 Greece owed not one euro to German taxpayers. We had no right to borrow from them, or from other European taxpayers, while our public debt was unsustainable. Period!
That was my ‘controversial’ point in 2010: In 2010, Greece should have borrowed not one euro before entering into debt restructuring procedures and partially defaulting to its private sector creditors.
Well before the May 2010 ‘bailout’, I urged European citizens to tell their governments not to even think of transferring private losses to them.
To no avail, of course. That transfer was effected soon after with the largest taxpayer-backed loan in economic history given to the Greek state on austerity conditions that have caused Greeks to lose a quarter of their income, making it impossible to repay private and public debts, and causing a hideous humanitarian crisis.
That was then, in 2010. What should we do now, in 2015, that Greece remains in crisis and our people, the Greeks and the Germans, have, regrettably but also predictably, descended into a mutual ‘blame game’?
First, we should work towards ending the toxic ‘blame game’ and the moralising finger-pointing which benefit only the enemies of Europe.
Secondly, we need to focus on our joint interest: On how to grow and to reform Greece rapidly, so that the Greek state can best repay debts it should never have taken on while looking after its citizens as a modern European state ought to do.
In practical terms, the 20th February Eurogroup agreement offers an excellent opportunity to move forward. Let us implement it immediately, as our leaders have urged in yesterday’s informal Brussels meeting.
Looking ahead, and beyond current tensions, our joint task is to re-design Europe so that Germans and Greeks, along with all Europeans, can re-imagine our monetary union as a realm of shared prosperity.
Lufthansa pilots on strike for fourth straight day [Reuters - 21/3/15]
Japan, Australia signal approval of China-based AIIB [Reuters – 20/3/15]
Wisconsin federal judge finds state abortion law unconstitutional
A federal judge in Wisconsin ruled as unconstitutional on Friday a state law requiring any doctor performing an abortion to have privileges to admit patients to a nearby hospital.
U.S. District Judge William Conley temporarily blocked the law in August 2013, which requires doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital located within 30 miles (50 km) of his or her practice, shortly after Republican Governor Scott Walker signed it into law.
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and Affiliated Medical Services, the state's two abortion providers, challenged the measure in court, saying it could force abortion clinics in Appleton and Milwaukee to close.
On Friday, Conley ordered a permanent injunction against the law, saying in his 91-page order and opinion that the law violated women's 14th amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution.
"The marginal benefit to women's health of requiring hospital admitting privileges, if any, is substantially outweighed by the burden this requirement will have on women's health outcomes due to restricted access to abortions in Wisconsin," Conley wrote.
"While the court agrees with the State that sometimes it is necessary to reduce access to insure safety, this is decidedly not one of those instances," he said.
Walker's office could not be reached immediately for comment on Friday night.
Last June, the U.S. Supreme Court decided against intervening in the case, turning away the state's appeal against a 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that upheld Conley's earlier decision to temporarily block the law.
"We all want to protect patient safety - this law doesn’t do that," Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin CEO Teri Huyck said in a statement.
"Politicians passed this law in order to make it extremely difficult for women in Wisconsin to get safe and legal abortions, plain and simple," Huyck said.
The Guttmacher Institute, a research group supporting the right to abortion whose reports are cited by both sides in the debate, says that 14 states mandate abortion providers to be affiliated with a local hospital in some way.
Monsanto weed killer can 'probably' cause cancer: World Health Organization
The world's most widely-used weed killer can "probably" cause cancer, the World Health Organization said on Friday.
The WHO's cancer arm, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), said glyphosate, the active ingredient in the Monsanto Co herbicide Roundup, was "classified as probably carcinogenic to humans".
It also said there was "limited evidence" that glyphosate was carcinogenic in humans for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Monsanto, the world's largest seed company, said scientific data do not support the conclusions and called on the WHO to hold an urgent meeting to explain the findings.
"We don't know how IARC could reach a conclusion that is such a dramatic departure from the conclusion reached by all regulatory agencies around the globe," Philip Miller, Monsanto's vice-president of global regulatory affairs, said in a statement.
Concerns about glyphosate on food have been a hot topic of debate in the United States recently, and contributed to the passage in Vermont last year of the country's first mandatory labeling law for foods that are genetically modified.
The U.S. government says the herbicide is considered safe. In 2013, Monsanto requested and received approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for increased tolerance levels for glyphosate.
Glyphosate is mainly used on crops such as corn and soybeans that are genetically modified to survive it.
The weed killer has been detected in food, water and in the air after it has been sprayed, according to the report from the WHO agency. However, glyphosate use is generally low in and near homes where the general public would face the greatest risk of exposure, the report said.
The evidence for the WHO's conclusion was from studies of exposure, mostly agricultural, in the United States, Canada, and Sweden that were published since 2001.
Carcinogens are substances that can lead to cancer under certain levels of exposure.
Monsanto's stock price rose 0.3 percent on Friday to $115.75 after setting a four-month low on Thursday.
Police and protesters have clashed at the final stages of the installation of an NBNCo wireless internet tower at Clothiers Creek on Friday.
Hammond Drive retiree Diane Morrison chained herself to a ute being used by sub contractors to install the 30m Ericsson tower.
Tweed Byron LAC officers used an angle grinder to cut the chain and expel Mrs Morrison from the work site. ... [Tweed Daily News - 20/3/15]
Australia’s increasing contempt to be highlighted at UN in lead up to major human rights review
HRLC Media Release [20/3/15]:
The United Nations’ peak human rights body will tonight be urged to question Australia on its increasingly regressive approach to human rights in the lead up to a major review.
The statement to be presented by the Human Rights Law Centre to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva will highlight concerns about Australia’s growing hostility to the UN as well as regression in key areas.
The HRLC’s Director of Advocacy and Strategic Litigation, Anna Brown, said the statement aims to alert the nations of the Council of the widening gulf between Australia’s domestic actions and statements the Government makes to the international community.
“Australia has a good track record of engaging with important UN forums, but there’s concern that not only is Australia’s human rights record deteriorating, but that Australia is also becoming increasingly belligerent in the face of external criticism,” said Ms Brown.
The statement quotes Prime Minister Tony Abbott saying that “Australians are sick of being lectured to by the United Nations” and his Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, dismissing a recent UN report criticising Australia’s asylum seeker policies as “absolute rubbish”.
“In Geneva Australia has been at the forefront of discussions about the importance of ensuring the independence of human rights institutions, yet at home the Government has significantly cut funding to the Australian Human Rights Commission, publicly attack the credibility of and sought the resignation of its President, Professor Triggs. Such actions are manifestly incompatible with resolutions Australia leads at the UN,” said Ms Brown.
The HRLC is part of a NGO Coalition preparing a joint NGO report for the Human Rights Council ahead of Australia’s upcoming Universal Periodic Review – a peer based review of a nation’s overall human rights performance which takes place every four years.
“At Australia’s last review it was encouraging to see the Government engaging constructively with the UN, accepting criticism and committing to lifting its game in a number of areas. This time round, things might be different and that’s a real concern, because it’s in Australia’s interests that the UN system and international law is respected by all members,” said Ms Brown.
The statement also highlights key areas of concern, including increasingly punitive asylum seeker and refugee policies, the over-imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and the introduction of laws, policies and arrangements that threaten democratic freedoms.
“Since Australia’s last review, we’ve witnessed the erosion of basic democratic freedoms at both state and federal levels of government. When you add to this funding cuts and restrictions on the ability of independent organisations to speak out about human rights violations, then clearly you’re heading into pretty concerning territory,” said Ms Brown.
Australia is currently campaigning to become a member of the Human Rights Council in 2018 and Ms Brown said the Government needed to lift its game.
“If Australia develops a reputation for snubbing UN processes and letting human rights standards slide, then its chances of being elected are likely to be damaged,” said Ms Brown.
Australia’s Universal Periodic Review by the UN Human Rights Council will take place in November. The Australian Government will need to lodge its report in July ahead of the review.
For more information about the UPR visit: www.hrlc.org.au/upr
39:40 ---> Item: 6 General Debate - 43rd Meeting 28th Regular Session of Human Rights Council 20 Mar 2015 - General Debate Under Item 6 - Universal periodic review
Drowning of Palestinians off the coast of Sicily a ‘clear and tragic sign’ of untenable situation
Statement by UNRWA Spokesperson, Chris Gunness [19/3/15]:
According to latest reports, as many as nine Palestinians drowned off the coast of Sicily on 4 March.
They were amongst 59 Palestinians who were part of a larger group trying to reach Europe from the shores of Libya.
The fact that this group reportedly consisted of Palestine refugees from Syria, as well as from Gaza and Lebanon, is a clear and tragic sign that Palestine refugees are finding life in Syria and beyond increasingly untenable.
The conflict has overwhelmed Palestine refugee communities in Syria, with a widespread disrespect for international law and the protection of civilians.
In Gaza, the effects of the occupation, blockade and recurring military campaigns have devastated not only Palestine refugee homes, lives and income, but also hope for a secure and dignified future.
In Lebanon, where Palestine refugees are already socially and economically marginalized, the strain of Lebanon's refugee load has pushed Palestine refugees into destitution and desperation.
These tragedies involving men, women and children drowning at sea stem not only from armed conflict, occupation and a lack of protection of human rights, but more fundamentally from the failure to resolve the Palestine refugee problem.
At a time of rising extremism in the Middle East region, the failure of the international community to resolve the Palestinian issue takes on an added significance.
Fighting and despair triggers rise in numbers fleeing Syria to Jordan [UNHCR Media Release – 19/3/15]
2 children shot during clashes with PA security forces [Maan - 20/3/15]:
Two Palestinian children were injured, one seriously, in clashes with Palestinian security forces near Balata refugee camp in eastern Nablus on Friday.
Locals told Ma'an that Mohammad Rakiz Abu Assab, 10, was shot in the stomach and taken to Rafidia hospital in a serious condition, while Mohammad Raed al-Hajj, 11, was shot in the foot and taken to al-Ittihad hospital.
Security sources told Ma'an that clashes broke out between security forces and dozens of youths on al-Quds street near the refugee camp after the young Palestinians closed the road and began throwing rocks on the street.
Palestinian Legislative Council Member Jamal al-Tirawi told Ma'an that responsibility lay with President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah to prevent the situation in Balata from deteriorating further.
Balata has been the site of growing tension since Palestinian security forces began a security campaign in February with the stated aim of capturing 18 wanted criminals inside the refugee camp.
Seven of the fugitives turned themselves in to the police in mid-February, following a meeting between Prime Minister Hamdallah and representatives of political parties in Balata refugee camp, and several others have been detained.
Earlier this month, gunmen and youths from the camp blocked al-Quds street, demanding that the PA release the wanted men that had turned themselves in.
On March 8 two Palestinian men sustained gunshot injuries during an exchange of fire between fugitives and Palestinian security officers.
The most populated refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, Balata houses an estimated 23,000 on less than a square kilometer of land.
The densely populated camp has historically shown high levels of unemployment, overcrowded classrooms, and a lack of basic services such as access to clean water and effective sewage systems, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.
The cramped environment of the camp makes it difficult for security forces to enter covertly, and entrance of Palestinian security or Israeli forces into the camp often results in violent clashes.
Balata refugee camp was established by the United Nations in 1950 to provide housing and services to refugees resulting from the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, causing more than 700,000 Palestinians to flee their homes.
Army blocks displaced Tamils from viewing seized land in Jaffna
Tamil Guardian [20/3/15]:
The Sri Lankan military blocked displaced Tamils from visiting land that had been seized by the military in Jaffna earlier today.
Villagers from Vasavilan and Palali attempted to view 197 acres of land that had been taken over by the Sri Lankan military.
The seized land has been marked as a “High Security Zone” for the last 25 years. However, the military stopped the villagers from accessing their land at the barbed wire border.
Adelaide woman dies in custody; death not suspicious, police say
A 60-year-old woman from Morphettville has died while being held in a cell at the Sturt Police Complex in Adelaide overnight.
The woman was found unconscious in the cell just before 9:30pm.
Police said staff performed CPR until paramedics arrived but the woman could not be revived.
They said her death was not suspicious, but as matter of procedure, practices would be reviewed.
Deadly attack on police station in Kashmir
Al Jazeera [20/3/15]:
Gunmen wearing army uniforms have stormed a police station in India-administered Kashmir, killing a policeman and sparking a four-hour gun battle that left two paramilitary officers, two attackers and a civilian dead, police have said.
At least seven paramilitary officers, two policemen and a second civilian were also wounded in Friday's fighting on the outskirts of Kathua town, in the region of Jammu near the border with Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
Indian forces also rescued at least two dozen paramilitary and police officers who had been trapped inside the station, the police said.
Inspector-General Danish Rana said the attackers hijacked a car and drove it to the police station, where they forced several civilians to enter in order to gain access to the building.
They then killed a police sentry and one of the civilians, and pushed their way into the building.
"Most likely, the militants infiltrated from the Pakistani side overnight," Rana said.
The attackers were dressed in army combat uniforms, but it was unclear from which country's army, Police Director-General K Rajendra said.
There are several anti-India groups fighting for Kashmir's independence or merger with neighbouring Pakistan-administered Kashmir. No one immediately claimed responsibility for Friday's attack.
Indian officials quickly blamed Pakistan, and said the incident justified the continuation of a controversial law allowing Indian military and paramilitary forces based in Kashmir to shoot-to-kill suspects without prosecution and to arrest suspected fighters without a warrant.
The Armed Forces Special Powers Act also gives Kashmir-based police wide-ranging powers of search and seizure.
Jitendra Singh, a junior minister in India's prime minister's office, said the attack should "be an eye opener and loud and clear message" to those who want to revoke the special powers act.
India has long accused Pakistan of supporting fighters with arms, training and logistical support - a charge Pakistan denies.
Kashmir has been in a state of conflict for decades, with a violent uprising erupting in 1989 leading to a brutal crackdown by Indian forces. An estimated 68,000 people have died in the violence.
A passenger train has derailed in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, killing at least 34 people, a railway spokesman told the BBC.
The engine and two carriages of the Janta Express, which travels between Dehradun and Varanasi, went off the rails near Bachhrawan village.
Several dozen people were injured in the accident, officials said. ... [BBC - 20/3/15]
Mexico: Ambush Leaves 10 Dead, Including 5 Federal Police
A gang ambushed a federal police convoy in western Mexico, sparking a shootout that killed five officers, three suspects and two bystanders, authorities said Friday.
The attack took place late Thursday as the seven vehicles carrying paramilitary gendarmerie officers were on patrol in Ocotlan, Jalisco state, the federal police said in a statement.
Eight other officers were wounded, including one in serious condition.
It was the deadliest shooting for Mexico's new gendarmerie, a 5,000-strong unit modeled after European military-like forces that President Enrique Pena Nieto launched last year to protect key economic sectors from organized crime.
"We have regrettably had minor losses of one officer in some other events," but never so many in one attack, a federal official told AFP.
A gendarmerie commander deployed in Jalisco said the officers were checking on reports of an attack on municipal police when they were ambushed.
The police statement said the officers were on patrol at around 9:15 pm when a vehicle approached the convoy and "without uttering a word, one of the individuals pulled out a large weapon and shot at the federal agents."
The officers shot back and more gunmen arrived in about 10 other vehicles, firing in all directions.
The gendarmerie commander said the shootout lasted 30 minutes and took place in several streets.
"As a result of this clash, we report the deaths of five gendarmerie division officers and three civilians whose bodies had cartridge belts and tactical equipment and who presumably are part of organized crime," the statement said.
"We regret the death of two civilians," it added. The bodies were in the same firing line as the officers.
The statement did not say what criminal organization the suspects belong to, but the region is home to the Jalisco New Generation drug cartel.
The suspects kept shooting as they fled the scene, leaving bullet holes in several vehicles parked in several neighboring streets.
Authorities found seven "large weapons" -- a term usually referring to assault rifles -- and four grenades. The suspects left behind five vehicles.
The federal attorney general's office will investigate the attack.
More than 100,000 people have died or gone missing since Mexico's drug war began to escalate in 2006 with the deployment of troops to combat drug cartels.
Criminals have attacked authorities in Jalisco in recent years.
In October, a federal lawmaker was abducted on a highway as he drove to the airport near Guadalajara, Mexico's second biggest city. His charred body was found hours later in a neighboring state.
In May 2014, a group of 30 gunmen armed with grenades ambushed a military truck near the Jalisco town of Guachinango. Four soldiers were killed after the assailants tossed their grenades, sparking a shootout.
Hacked Off responds to acquittals in trial of Sun journalists
Hacking Inquiry [20/3/15]:
Four senior journalists from The Sun were today cleared at the Old Bailey on all charges relating to paying public officials for information.
Chief reporter John Kay and royal editor Duncan Larcombe were cleared of making payments.
Executive editor Fergus Shanahan and deputy editor Geoff Webster were cleared over allegations that they signed off payments.
The criminal process has taken its course, and the accused have been acquitted of all charges. The jury’s verdicts are clear and must be respected.
What has been revealed through the evidence given at the trials, however, is another appalling catalogue of bad practice, weak management and legal failures at The Sun. Not for the first time, we have seen journalists dragged through the courts because they have not been properly trained, supervised or managed by their bosses at News UK.
This case, once again, demonstrates the pressing need for proper and effective regulation of the press.
We will now hear calls from media corporations for an end to any further legal cases. The proper course of criminal justice cannot be influenced by this kind of pressure.
Each case must be decided on its merits and by a jury which has heard all the evidence. The rule of law requires criminal cases to be decided by the courts; not by the press.
Joan Smith, Executive Director of Hacked Off, said: “What this case highlights is the need for proper regulation to ensure, among other things, that journalists are not carrying out their duties in a culture that could later lead them to court. An independently audited self-regulation system would force the big media corporates to put their houses in order, which would be good for the media, good for readers and good for journalists.”
Sun’s chief reporter accuses the paper’s executives of “breaking the first rule of journalism”, as court clears four Sun journalists of all charges [Hacking Inquiry – 20/3/15]
Ecuador: Why Did It Take Sweden 1,000 Days to Agree to Question Julian Assange in Our UK Embassy?
Democracy Now [20/3/15]:
Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño responds to recent reports Swedish prosecutors will seek to question WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.
Assange has never been charged over allegations of sexual assault, yet he has been holed up in the embassy since 2012, fearing that if he steps outside, he will be arrested and extradited to Sweden, which could lead to his extradition to the United States — which is investigating Assange over WikiLeaks publishing classified documents.
"We are pleased to see the Swedish prosecutors say that they now want to take the statements from Julian Assange at our embassy," Patiño says.
"But at the same time, we are concerned that 1,000 days have gone by, 1,000 days with Julian Assange confined in our embassy, before they say that they are going to do what they should have done from day one."
Exxon Settlement Falls Short Of Damage, N.J. Democrats Say
Lawmakers in New Jersey heard testimony today about one of the biggest environmental cases in that state's history.
ExxonMobil recently agreed to pay $225 million in damages for contamination at two oil refineries. Gov. Chris Christie called it a "good deal."
But environmentalists complain the state is getting pennies on the dollar compared to the billions it was seeking in court.
The proposed settlement still requires approval by a state judge, and the public will have a chance to comment once the details are released — probably in the next few weeks.
The Bayway Refinery, the bigger of two sites covered by the proposed deal, occupies 1,300 acres surrounded by marshes and wetlands — and it's a big reason why New Jersey has a reputation as a dumping ground for heavy industry.
"The smell's horrific," Derek Armstead, the mayor of Linden, N.J., testified at a state assembly hearing in Trenton. His town is right next to the Bayway Refinery. "When we have large storms, you can actually see the oil that been there for years — it actually comes to the surface. We do have some wildlife and some fish in our streams, but, you know, I would never think of trying to bring one home for dinner."
The refinery is not open to the public, but I got a tour of the area from Debbie Mans, executive director of NY/NJ Baykeeper.
"These spills and leaks of pipelines happened over decades, as opposed to like a onetime event in the Exxon Valdez," she says. "Which was devastating, but the extent of the contamination here is just as bad."
Which may be why lawyers for New Jersey aimed high, asking for $9 billion — $2.5 billion to restore wetlands at the refineries, and another $6 billion to compensate for lost use of those areas.
That's why it seemed outrageous to some when the state agreed to settle for $225 million, a fortieth of what the state had sought.
"I think it's a real betrayal of environmental protection and a betrayal of law enforcement," says Bradley Campbell, former commissioner of New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection.
Campbell was in charge when the case began in 2004, and says it was going well. The courts already had found Exxon liable for environmental damage going back decades.
"The only real issue left in the case was what the amount of damages would be," he says. "The state should have done significantly better."
The full details haven't been released, but Republican Gov. Chris Christie — who is considering a run for the White House next year — is defending the proposed settlement as a "really good deal" for New Jersey, saying the $225 million is on top of what they have to pay to fix damage from the pollution.
"And there is no cap — so no matter what it costs them to fix what they created, they have to pay," Christie said at a town hall meeting last week. "And then on top of that, they pay another $225 million for having done the act in the first place."
But environmentalists say cleanup is not the same thing as restoration of wetlands. Exxon already had agreed to do the cleanup back the in 1990s, but the company has been fighting the state's damages lawsuit for more than a decade. Exxon declined to comment for this story.
The PBF Energy refinery in Paulsboro, N.J., uses toxic chemicals such as hydrofluoric acid. Rather than using "inherently safer" design methods, the industry says, other safety measures are taken to prevent accidents like the one in West, Texas.
Environmental lawyer Andrew Robins of the firm Sills Cummis & Gross, says it's not surprising that the state might want to settle.
"In a case like the Exxon case, with natural resource damages, it's reasonable to anticipate that if there were an extreme judgment one way or the other ... this would be wrapped up in appeals for a very long time," he says.
But to Democratic Assemblyman John McKeon, it looks like the state caved.
"Having stood toe-to-toe with Exxon, won every step of the way, and then at the last moment when they were faced with those number of billions — to take a step back," he says. "That's just the absolute wrong signal for every bad actor that's out there in the future."
Turkish, Australian and NZ artists launch "War and Peace" exhibition at Gold Coast Arts Centre
Gold Coast City Council Media Release [20/3/15]:
Turkish artists in Australia to commemorate the 100th year anniversary celebrations of the ANZAC landing in Gallipoli have participated in a tree planting at the Botanic Gardens.
The group, from Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey was joined by Gold Coast Community and Cultural Development Committee Chair Cr Bob La Castra, Southport RSL Deputy President Lawrie Pollard and representatives from Friends of the Botanic Gardens to plant a grove of seven Bribie Island Pines (Callitris columellaris) – our local native pine.
The planting demonstrated a symbol of the Lone Pine - a Turkish pine species Pinus brutia - which marked the site of the 1915 Battle of Lone Pine, and is frequently planted in southern Australia as a memorial to the soldiers who fought at Gallipoli.
The group is teaming with New Zealand and Australian artists from the Australian Creative Exchange in a friendship exhibition “War & Peace” which launched at The Art Centre Gold Coast on Friday.
Cr La Castra said the commemoration was one of many ways the City and local organisations were working to strengthen international relationships.
“These opportunities honour the artists’ visit to Australia and ensure they leave behind a legacy. It’s also helping grow our ever-strong relationship with the Turkish community,” he said.
“This exhibition will enhance our understanding of each other’s culture and lifestyle through the medium of art and allow the Gold Coast community to experience greater cultural diversity.”
For information visit www.friendsgcrbg.org.au/.
To find out more about the War & Peace exhibition visit www.theartscentregc.com.au/whats-on/whats-on-items/war-and-peace.
“There is hope
for a better world when WE, THE PEOPLE, hold our government accountable to the
laws and treaties that govern the use of lethal force and war. To the extent
that we ignore our laws and constitution and allow for the unchecked use of
lethal force by our government, allowing the government to kill whoever it
wants, where ever it wants, however it wants with no accountability, we make the
world less safe for children everywhere.”
The Nuclear Register [19/3/15]:
At 9:15 a.m. on March 19, the 12th anniversary of the U.S.’ illegal invasion of Iraq, seven members of the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars shut the main gate of the Hancock Drone Base (near Syracuse, New York) with a giant copy of the U.N. Charter and three other giant books – Dirty Wars (Jeremy Scahill), Living Under Drones (NYU and Stanford Law Schools), and You Never Die Twice (Reprieve).
The nonviolent activists also held a banner quoting Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution, stating that every treaty signed becomes the supreme law of the land.
They brought the books to Hancock to remind everyone at the base of the signed treaties that prohibit the killing of civilians and assassinations of human beings.
The group attempted yet again to deliver a citizens indictment for war crimes to the Hancock Air Base chain of command.
In the indictment, the activists state, “There is hope for a better world when WE, THE PEOPLE, hold our government accountable to the laws and treaties that govern the use of lethal force and war. To the extent that we ignore our laws and constitution and allow for the unchecked use of lethal force by our government, allowing the government to kill whoever it wants, where ever it wants, however it wants with no accountability, we make the world less safe for children everywhere.”
One of the giant books, Living Under Drones: Death, Injury, and Trauma to Civilians from U.S. Drone Practices in Pakistan, states that such missions are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of noncombatants, including women and children, in that region.
One of those arrested, Fr. Bill Pickard of Scranton, Pennsylvania, stated, “The Reaper drone not only kills and maims humans; it destroys homes and displaces and terrorizes whole communities. U.S. taxpayers pay for such terrorism which perpetuates the violence and generates enormous ill will against the United States.”
Hancock hosts the 174th Attack Wing of the NY Air National Guard – the MQ9 Reaper drone hub.
Drones flying over Afghanistan are piloted from the base.
It is also a training center for drone pilots, sensor operators and maintenance technicians.
Today’s action at Hancock’s main gate is one chapter in the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars’ (www.upstatedroneaction.org) five-year scrupulously nonviolent campaign to expose the Hancock war crimes.
Since 2010 there have been over 160 anti-Reaper arrests at Hancock, resulting in extreme bails, maximum fines, incarcerations, and Orders of Protection as well as some acquittals.
Those arrested for closing the gates with the giant books were:
Danny Burns, Ithaca, NY
Brian Hynes, Bronx, NY
Ed Kinane, Syracuse, NY
Julienne Oldfield, Syracuse, NY
Fr. Bill Pickard, Scranton, PA
Bev Rice, New York City, NY
James Ricks, Ithaca, NY
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
On March 19, U.S. military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Syria, using bomber aircraft to conduct an airstrike.
Separately, U.S. and Coalition military forces conducted seven airstrikes in Iraq, using attack and fighter aircraft against ISIL terrorists.
All strikes took place between 8 a.m., March 19, and 8 a.m., March 20, local time.
The following is a summary of the strikes conducted since the last press release:
•Near Kobani, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL vehicle.
•Near Al Hawayjah, an airstrike struck an ISIL IED factory.
•Near Bayji, an airstrike struck an ISIL weapons assembly area.
•Near Haditha, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL vehicle.
•Near Mosul, four airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, an ISIL rocket site, an ISIL heavy machine gun and destroyed seven ISIL fighting positions and two ISIL excavators.
Airstrike assessments are based on initial reports. All aircraft returned to base safely.
Mind the red baiting: Abbott and Shorten shamelessly use the military as a human shield from revelations of human rights atrocities against refugees.
As a woman is lynched in Kabul, Australia's political and media class celebrate their participation in the illegal invasion of Afghanistan.
According to reports, the Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs (MoHRA) officials have said that the woman who was lynched by mob in Kabul did not burn the holy Quran.
The officials confirmed that their investigations have revealed the books had Persian transcripts and there was evidence to prove the accusations against the victim.
The woman lynched by mob in Kabul on Wednesday was identified as Farkhunda who was a resient of Khair Khana area of Kabul city.
She was reportedly visiting Shah Do Shamsher shrine and mosque every weekend for prayers who was suffering mental illness for many years.
At least seven people including a man who had claimed involvement in murder and burning of Farkhunda were arrested by police following the incident.
Sediq Sediqi, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior (MoI), said Friday that the Interior Minister has ordered to launch an investigation into the incident and detain all those involved behind the murder of the woman.
President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani also ordered an immediate probe into incident and formation of an independent commission to investigate the brutal murder of the woman.
The United Nations condemns also condemned the brutal murder of the woman in the strongest terms.
“We are particularly worried by reports that the woman had suffered from mental illness for many years,” said Elzira Sagynbaeva, the Country Representative for UN Women in Afghanistan.
“We are encouraged by initial reports of the arrest of several suspects, but call on the authorities to investigate this incident fully and bring to justice all persons who actively participated in the killing, or aided and abetted it.”
The continued increase in the number of cases of violence against women and girls in Afghanistan has become a source of major concern, Ms. Sagynbaeva noted, and must not be tolerated. Afghan women’s rights to safety and security have to be ensured, she said, and the survivors of violence supported and perpetrators brought to justice.
Mark Bowden, the Deputy Special Representative for the Secretary-General in Afghanistan and acting head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), also condemned the attack.
“The burning of the Quran contradicts the efforts of the United Nations to promote tolerance, intercultural understanding and mutual respect between cultures and religions,” said Mr. Bowden. “However, the brutal murder of this woman is an unspeakably horrendous act that should result in those responsible being prosecuted, to the fullest extent possible, under Afghan law.”
Ms. Sagynbaeva, Mr. Bowden and the UN family in Afghanistan extend their deepest condolences to the family of the victim.
Suicide bombers kill 137 in Yemen mosque attacks [Reuters - 20/3/15]
Two car bombs have killed at least 20 people and wounded 70 celebrating the Shia new year festival of Nowruz in the mainly Kurdish city of Hasakah in northeastern Syria, state media has reported. ... [Al Jazeera - 21/3/15]
Intensifying armed conflict in the southern Philippines island of Mindanao has displaced some 120,000 people since late January, the United Nations refugee agency said today, expressing particular concern for the safety of women and children who could be exposed to exploitation and abuse. ... [UN Media Release - 20/3/15]
Border Patrol Agent Fatally Shoots Man in Washington State [Democracy Now - 20/3/15]
Chicago Police Commander Resigns After Homan Square Exposé [Democracy Now - 20/3/15]
A judge in Staten Island, New York, has refused to release testimony heard by the grand jury that failed to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo for the chokehold death of unarmed African American Eric Garner. ... [Democracy Now - 20/3/15]
Students at the University of Virginia are protesting the arrest of an African-American classmate shown bleeding profusely from the head after being slammed to the ground by state alcohol agents. Martese Johnson needed 10 stitches in his head. He was charged with obstruction of justice without force and public swearing or intoxication. ... [Democracy Now - 20/3/15]
Man dies after being shot by WA police
WA Today [21/3/15]:
A man has died in hospital after being shot by police responding to a domestic incident in Perth's southwest.
Officers were called to a home in Jamy Place, Hamilton Hill, at about 11pm on Friday.
"A 44-year-old male person is alleged to have attacked attending police whilst armed with a weapon," police said in a statement early on Saturday.
"Police discharged a single firearm round resulting in a wound to the male's abdomen."
Police say the man was taken to Fiona Stanley Hospital in a critical condition. He has since died.
The incident is being investigated by the Major Crime Squad.
Man accidentally shot dead during hunting trip in Merredin [ABC - 21/3/15]
"Trained negotiators" = goons with guns and dogs.
Refugees disappeared after protesting their torture, Yongah Hill
A number of protesters at the Yongah Hill detention facility in Northam have been removed from the facility by the Australian Federal Police after up to 30 people reportedly took to the rooftops for a second night of protesting.
The ABC has been told AFP and security officers removed six detainees from their compounds in the centre, about 80 kilometres north-east of Perth.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection said a small number of detainees were still engaged in the protest and trained negotiators were at the scene.
It said despite this, "normal routines" were being followed at the centre.
Detainees at the facility said the protest, which began on Thursday, was sparked by unhappiness about the time it took to process their cases and cuts to after-hours medical care.
The Refugee Action Coalition's Ian Rintoul said while most detainees came down from the roof on Thursday, another 30 climbed back up last night.
"The actions of police have provoked a bigger demonstration inside Yongah Hill, and people have now gone back up on the roof to continue the protest," he said.
"What needs to happen is for the Government and Immigration to actually address the fundamental problems."
The ABC spoke to one protester who said six detainees were told they would be "transferred".
"We don't have any idea what happened to them after they took them," he said.
"We are doing a peaceful protest, we just want to be heard.
"We want to be heard by someone who is going to take our matters seriously.
"Especially people that have been detained for two or three or four years without getting progress in their cases."
The detainee, who did not want to be named, said there were about 30 people on the roof at the protest's peak, chanting and holding signs.
The department confirmed that a number of detainees had been transferred into "alternative detention arrangements" but did not say where they were being housed.
... But former disability discrimination commissioner Graeme Innes said the Moss review into sexual abuse in Australia's detention centre on Nauru showed the Government was wrong in its criticism of the commission and Ms Triggs.
He also said the allegations detailed in the Moss review further exposed the treatment of asylum seekers in immigration detention.
"This report confirms that. And it's just another independent source of advice confirming that, as Australians, we should be very concerned about the way that we're treating people who've done nothing wrong, who have just left very difficult situations in their own countries and sought asylum with us," he said.
21 March 2015